tv Unknown Soldier CSPAN November 13, 2016 4:00pm-4:31pm EST
legislative branch of policy. -- policymaking. especially the role of speech in a democratic society. >> you can watch the entire program at 5 p.m. eastern, announcer: republican donald trump is elected as the next president of the united states, and the nation elects a republican-controlled house and senate. we take you to key events as they happen, without interruption. watch live on c-span, on demand at c-span.org, or free on our c-span radio app. estimated in 1921, an 100,000 people gathered at arlington cemetery in virginia for a ceremony honoring a soldier of world war i. film.s. army silent
included the procession to arlington through the streets of washington, d.c. we will show you the entire 23-minute silent film, with narration by two world war i historians. it is the centennial of the american involvement in world war i, and there will be undoubtedly lots of discussion about the effects of that war on the world and on american society. as part of that conversation, we are going to show you some vintage films from that era that document american participation, and to help us understand this, because they are silent films, we have invited two world war i historians. they will be with us to look at on -- a look at the film. , before we start the film,
who saw these kinds of films at the time they were made? think in many ways, the films were meant to document the events are the people who were involved in them. they might have been shown a newsreel. this was a really important moment in the commemorative culture that was developing in the u.s. after world war i. we wanted to capture it on film and have it for future generations. host: how was it done? who is in charge of this kind of precious resource? >> these are u.s. government films that were in some warehouse probably somewhere in washington, d.c., and survived many years and were eventually transferred to the national archives, probably sometime after world war ii, and the archives have the original cut, and then they were now they haved
been digitized, cleaned up quite a bit, and they are available on the national archives youtube channel. there are thousands and thousands, may by almost every wasrnment agency that around in world war i, primarily the u.s. army signal corps, but you also had the committee on public information, which was the predecessor in world war ii. they were kind of like a propaganda arm of the federal government, so every agency -- i think they were excited to have this new technology of motion picture, and so they were kind of going crazy in making films, and like she said, they were there probably more for dissemination by government officials and so forth, and maybe they were chopped up a bit and shown in newsreels and movie theaters, but a large amount of the american public has not seen it before, so it is quite exciting that people will probably see it for the first
time. host: well, with this background, let's roll this with the technology of the time of the unknown soldier. now, where are we as this begins? i am pretty sure that would be in france. right, allison? you can see the french train coming in, and you can see the soldiers lined up with the honor guard. post: how did this whole concept of the unknown soldier come about? goes back to the mechanization of warfare that you see expand during world war i. you get a lot more at identifiable remains. of course, you had a lot in the civil war, but people were struggling with the fact that they could not figure out where many of these were, so they buried an unknown soldier in great britain, westminster abbey, and that in france, it triomphe,the arc de
and it was started by representative hamilton fish from new york, who submitted legislation for various unknown soldiers, and i believe they are in france right now, where the unknown soldiers were taken, four different cemeteries. includes san mso iguel. and the psalm? youyockelson: yes, i think are right. i have walked through those streets before, and it is interesting to see how many people turned out, not just the army, as we can see mostly in this scene, but french civilians showing their honor and patriotism towards the americans and really supporting the role the americans played in helping to liberate france during this really difficult time.
understanding and appreciation for the role that the american soldiers played, and this was their opportunity to them.nor for just a moment, it was interesting that they brought soldiers in, and it was a very elaborate process, so the selection of the one who would be the unknown soldier was really democratic. why did they go to that length? finklestein: it was a democratic process, and they selected a wounded world war i veteran, to actually blindly figure out which one was going to place the roses on, and then three inried the american cemeteries. to be clear, and there were different caskets in the room, and he was supposed to
lay roses on them? -- ms. finklestein: yes. mr. yockelson: it has a storied history. post: and how long with a voyage have taken? mr. yockelson: i think it was a little under two weeks. host: and what about the arrival of this ask it? there was aein: lot. when they pulled into the washington navy yard, they did that with a lot of pomp and circumstance, and they had a lot of elaborate ceremonies that were planned once the unknown soldier was arriving. host: was there anything special for the soldiers on board the ship question were it was not regular cargo that they were carrying, so was there an honor guard that you know of, or is that a detail that is lost to
history? was ankelson: no, there honor guard that would have been selected specifically for this voyage, and you can just look and the in the film. it would have been an absolute tribute. that are guards entombed today. they were selected for certain reasons, and this was a huge event in u.s. history. it was a way, i think him and to kind of wrap up the war in a sense that it had been a few years since the armistice, and the discovery of the bodies, and still trying to figure out the aerials. i think this is the way to have some closure. ms. finklestein: and there we see the disembarkation at the navy yard in washington, d.c.. we are looking at the casket being taken down, and you can see the honor guard there. i think that was general pershing a moment ago on the
ship, the commander of the american expeditionary forces, which was the term used for the american army, and here, they are in the u.s. capitol rotunda, and that is the platform that was used to put president lincoln's coffin. : and that is president harding and mrs. harding laying the ribbon. and not toon: yes, jump ahead too much, but he would give the keynote speech. the streets of washington were lined with thousands of folks who waited
for the casket to be removed and brought by the honor guard down pennsylvania avenue and then across the bridge, into virginia, and i think what i have read is one of the largest turnouts for any parade in this city. host: and what does this say? ms. finklestein: mr. yockelson: -- mr. yockelson: it says that the mayor can sacrifice was important, and that we lost, a tremendous amount of casualties, and because of the type of warfare, there were so many unknowns that they were difficult to identify once the repatriation occurred. if youklestein: recognize any of the faces coming across the screen as we go, let us know. there was someone with the american expeditionary force. tot: it is also interesting look back at the widespread use
of horses. the automobile coming into play but not as uniquely so at that time. mr. yockelson: yes. the army kind of went into the modern age in world war i, so i think tradition of using horse-drawn casket and walking was something that they wanted to keep for this event. host: and the casket is being carried down the steps of the u.s. capitol, and that is something we will be familiar with with similar ceremonies in our time, but on the horse-drawn , it will make its way through the streets of washington and make its way to arlington cemetery. let's watch for just a minute.
now, who was invited to participate in this parade? it is long. ms. finklestein: it was an interesting group. a military group formed a prominent part of those participating, but also, you had a lot of veterans. you had female veterans, women who served and volunteered during the war, but a lot of these different groups of people, general pushing right : that-- my post: -- host is harding. yes, and itein:
believe woodrow wilson for a very brief moment. he was ill at the time. mr. yockelson: these soldiers on horse, the calvary was also there from fort meyer, and they were led by george s patton. the 13thcontingent was engineers, which is also based out of the washington, d.c., area. one of the other groups that was there was the old star mothers. i think, allison, what was their role? ms. finklestein: right. so the gold star mothers were those who lost a child during world war i. a gold star, and they participated in the parade and also at the ceremony by laying wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier. see thed there we parade, honoring the world war i unknown soldier. mr. yockelson: the navy
representation. : so every branch of the military was represented. mr. yockelson: right. it would have been the navy, the marine corps being part of the navy, as well, plus the army. ast: and there is obviously viewing stand down in washington, d.c. right.kelson: it almost looks like a village in france. it is almost unrecognizable what part of town that is. that is interesting. ms. finklestein: and it is important to know that they were there. the soldier was used to represent every member of the military, not just those in the united dates military. continues from the capital, and there is the chosen unknown soldier representing the following in world war i.
-- the fallen in world war i. ms. finklestein: i think one reason so many people came out in the parade and the ceremony is that they were seeking some closure. they were trying to find some meaning in the sense of loss and also working through the grief that many of the families suffered from. those that had lost and those that suffered injury, whether physical or psychological. after a member this was the age before any broadcasting, and they could not watch on television or listen on the radio, so they came to see them. ms. finklestein: -- mr. yockelson: you're absolutely right. they covered this quite well, the day-to-day activities. and i believe that is the president and the first lady? mr. yockelson: i believe so,
yes. and they are in a war strawn, going into an automobile for one part of the trip. mr. yockelson: yes, i imagine it was going to yield rose slow. one thing to point out is the washington police who were in -- it was going to your and one thingow, to point out is the washington police who were in control, many came back the next day or the day after because they could not make it that day. host: honoring the president and general pershing, members of congress came. the supreme court and the diplomatic corps. with many members of civic groups that help support the war effort and the military.
there were also a lot of representatives from the allied nations. they wanted to show their support and continued the bonds of friendship that were continued during the first world war. it is so interesting to see how they dressed in this timeframe. youfinklestein: and here, can see the american war mothers come which was a group of war mothers who banded together because their children were serving, and after the war, they did a lot of community service in support of veterans. and i believe those women are from the army. it is a little hard to tell. it is blurry. but as you can see, we have the representation. maybe theson: salvation army? it could be.in:
some of the uniforms look familiar. they played an important part. they were women who were enlisted, the first american women to do so. female marines. women were army nurses. they were navy nurses. they also served in a wide variety of auxiliary to organizations. they served overseas with the salvation army. doughnut dollies. they were with the signal corps, the hello girls, and then you had women helping at the home front in so many ways. we heardworld war ii, about rosie the riveter, where women were involved in the creation of arms for world war i. mr. yockelson: absolutely. just like world war ii, a lot of factories were converted over to wartime machinery. the one thing to point out though is that we relied so heavily when it came to technology or artillery in many cases, armaments for the allies
that we were really slow in producing, but a lot of factories were turned over, and, yes, women took over the roles they were had, and either enlisted or drafted into the service. host: ultimately, how many americans fought in world war i? mr. yockelson: roughly 2 million in uniform were overseas in areas of war, mostly the western front, but we also had troops in siberia and italy, and out of the 2 million who were actually in the war zones, about 100,000 died. about half of the 50,000 were combat, the other 50,000 were from diseases like the flu or accidents or other deaths, as they say. is there also a dollar figure attached to the u.s. involvement in world war i? mr. yockelson: i do not know the
exact number. host: can i presume that we are now on the grounds of the cemetery? airy hasestein: that changed a lot since world war i, but this is probably somewhere onr the perimeter or sort of the way up to the hillside, were the tomb of the unknown soldier is located. ms. finklestein: if you -- host: if you visit, you can see ground yet interred. mr. yockelson: general pershing has a simple soldiers had sown, -- headstone, which is what he wanted, and next to him is his grandson, richard, who died during the vietnam war. at the theater: was constructed before the tomb of the unknown soldier, which is where they had some of these ceremonies. that circular road looks like
where it is today. do you think? he points out,as the ground without the lawn sort of throws us. host: familiar to many americans, because the president goes every year and lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. how many? world war ii, and then, allison? ms. finklestein: there was an heerment from the war, but was identified from the u.s. air force, and at the request of his family, he was disinterred and reinterred at jefferson national cemetery. days of the unknown soldier are behind us now because of dna testing. or is no such thing as the unknown soldier anymore. is that correct? mr. yockelson: with the technology that we have, it is a
lot easier. one thing to point out about world war i is the first time. tags were issued to everyone, and there were two circular disks that had information on the soldier. the idea was it a soldier was killed and had to be buried, one of the tags was mailed, to the temporary -- nailed to the temporary cross, and the other helps with identification after the war. but the problem was was it was the technology. the type of artillery that was used, in some cases it made soldiers unidentifiable, even though the registration service went to great lengths to try to andre out their identities, in some cases, they could not figure it out. host: look at the number of in the laid at the theater. and there is the president. there is a vast number of people in the audience and then the crowd of people beyond it.
ms. finklestein: the acoustics of the amphitheater are very good, having been there, and it is interesting, looking at it now. it is almost unchanged now how it was in 1921. host: look at that crowd. ms. finklestein: many of these from many groups, groups of women, who supported the war effort, and people who could not get to the cemetery, this was such a big deal that americans wanted to feel that they were participating in some way. mr. yockelson: i think there were some sent from every army unit to participate in some way. i believe that:
as the representative from possibly france. there was the victoria cross, from france, the croix de guerre. they all wanted to show their support for participation in the first world war. host: so that is the laying on of the medals. you can stilln: see them at arlington national cemetery. they have them in those crowds. and look at that. washington, d.c., how underdeveloped it is. and there were those that could not make it because of the large turnout. is finklestein: i think it important to note the people on the roof. some of the best photographs we have of the ceremony were taken from above. host: and also how unconcerned they were about presidential security.
today, they would not be there, snipers. despite the fact that three presidents had been assassinated before this. host: and is it called the sarcophagus? ms. finklestein: and that was not constructed yet. it was not constructed until later, so all we see is the tomb. where they are walking is somewhat near where the plaza would be constructed, or the sentinels from the united states army, the third infantry regiment, guard the tomb it. this has changed quite a bit. host: and the congressmen who started all of this all, m upton fish, do we know if he had a
role in this when it finally happened? ms. finklestein: yes, he did. he was an officer in the infantry regiment, which was a segregated african-american regiment, and he was a white officer. pause, this is representing native americans, so hamilton fish helped to orchestrate the ceremony, and i believe he was there. he was a very influential member of congress, and when it came to the national guard, about one third of the american fighting forces overseas. he also helped: to found the american legion. host: so his dedication to those who fought was consistent throughout his career. yes, and itein: believe that is the man who became very famous for playing "taps" during the ceremony.
where we today see the larger sarcophagus, which was not done at this moment. and that is the cemetery, much as we see it today, with the white rate stones marking the fallen. i think it isn: important to pause for a moment and think of the meaning of the unknown soldier at this moment. it was world war i, but it was about to be a memorial that was about to connect all of the conflicts and really honor all of those who served in our nation's armed services, and that really continues very strongly until today. and at the time, they did not know how it would end, but at the time, they thought it was the war to end all wars. mr. yockelson: yes, but i think
even general pershing understood that they surrendered not with a surrender but with an armistice, and the war did not come to an absolute closure, that there would be something in the future, and i suspect in the best of his might come he thought, ok, we are probably going to be fighting this again. was not think they knew it going to happen some 20 years later. you forll, thank helping us look through the lens of america, putting world war i to closure after many years. thank you for your expertise. mr. yockelson: thank you. ms. finklestein: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] knox, it had been opened years earlier, and there had
been lots of gold, and so the secretary of the treasury gave a portion to use. "q&a,"er: tonight, on and author talks about the decision to move america's most important documents to fort knox in 1941. >> a decision of what documents were going to be there. the original declaration, definitely. the original constitution, definitely. the articles of confederacy pre-constitution, for sure. the gettysburg address, considered critical, goes. decision veryis methodically, i think, of what will go to fort knox. the most considered valuable documents in the country, and the magna carta is the document that he has been asked to preserve. "q&a." r: tonight, on announcer: with donald trump
elected as the next u.s. president, melania trump becomes our nation's second foreign-born first lady. learn about the influence of presidential spouses from the c-span book "first ladies." it is of look at the influence of every provincial spouse in american history, a companion to the tv series and features interviews with 54 of the ladyns leading first historians, biographies of many first ladies, and archival photographs from each of their lives. "first ladies" for by public affairs is available or ever you buy books and now available in paperback. -- wherever you buy books. announcer: a professor talks about events leading up to the american entry into world war i and some common misperceptions he sees in conventional views of the great war. mr. neiber